Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Review: I Ordered Six Utility Jackets For Science.

I did. I totally did. I lost my mind and ordered six different olive green utility jackets in an effort to find one truly good one. Now, I'm sure you're wondering what happened to all the other olive green jackets I already own? Well, the pandemic happened and now everything that fit last fall is tight on me. (I am working on it but in the meantime, no shame, I need stuff to wear.) 

Here's what I was looking for: A lightweight olive green utility jacket with front pockets big enough for my iPhone 11. I also require side pockets for my hands because it's just weird not to have hand pockets. (Looking at you, Downtown Field Jacket.)  Here's what I bought, all in a size medium:


The Obvious Option.
This is the Madewell Dispatch jacket I posted about recently and y'all, it was a disappointment. Stiff and boxy with no real charm or interesting details. It has an adjustable waist drawstring but it's too stiff for that to really change it's shape in a good way. It's not terrible, but for the price I wanted to love it more. Verdict: It was an easy no. Returned.


The Fancy Option.
This is the Drawstring Waist Utility Jacket by The Kooples and I found it on clearance at Bloomingdales. I was SO excited about it and there's a lot to love. It's really well-made and I was into the belt tie and cute inverted pleat in the back. The shiny snaps also made it unusual. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good fit for me. Tight in the shoulders but with slightly too-wide sleeves and I'm not sure it was really very flattering on my shape. Also, oh my god, the dumb snaps. They are NOISY. I have never in my life had a jacket with jingly snaps like this. Seriously what:

It would drive me crazy to wear this. Verdict: Returned. 



The Reader Recommendation.
This is the Gap Utility Jacket and was a reader recommendation! It is really, really good. Despite looking like the Madewell jacket in design, it's not the same at all - it's much more soft and comfy! Basically a perfect light layer. It's a really good fit, with room for a sweater underneath and my phone fits perfectly in the front snap pocket. It also has an adjustable inner drawstring that helps to give it shape, which is a nice feature. The color is a brighter green than some of the others which makes it stand out. Verdict: It's a keeper. 


The Cheap and Cheerful (But Mostly Cheap) Option.
I wanted a cheap-and-cheerful option but the reader-recommended Walmart jacket I was going to order was sold out in my size so I bought this Scoop Utility Jacket instead. Y'all, this thing is such a sad mess. It's runs huge, was flimsy and floppy and the sleeves are crazy long. It doesn't have hand pockets and the little sleeve straps kept falling off. I hated it so much I couldn't even smile for the photos.
Verdict: Returned immediately


A Better Cheap and Cheerful Option.
I didn't buy this Target Anorak Jacket but I did try it on in the store. For the price it's really quite good! Definitely no frills (and no hand pockets) but it comes in a few good colors (they didn't have the olive green in my size) and the quality is much better than that Walmart mess above. 



The Other Reader Recommendation.
This one is the Women's Classic Utility Jacket from LL Bean and was also a reader recommendation! It comes in a bunch of colors but I went with the dusty olive for continuity. Overall, I really like it. The fit is good, it's well-made and at $99 it doesn't break the bank. My only issue is that the front snap pockets are undersized and my phone doesn't fit. It was a close run between this one and the Gap jacket but for me, the Gap jacket is just a little tiny bit better. I do love that this one comes in a rich burgundy and a darker green. Verdict: Returning.




The Undecided Option.
My final purchase was the Lightweight Utility Jacket from J.Crew which I've had my eye on for a while. This jacket is on a different level from the others ones I ordered. It's longer, fully lined, and loaded with interesting details:


I got it nearly half off (though it's under $100 right now!) but it was still the most expensive of all of them. But, here's the thing - I freaking LOVE IT. It's so huggy and substantial and the front pockets are so big my phone fits in sideways. It has such good details and an awesome chunky zipper. The only thing I don't like is that when you have the hood folded and zipped into the collar it makes the collar look puffy and stupid. 

Verdict: Undecided. I haven't returned it yet because I truly can't decide if I should keep it. For one thing, I bought this very similar Helly Hansen jacket last fall (though the HH is insulated and waterproof and, if we're being honest, a leetle bit tight RN.) For another, I'm definitely keeping the Gap jacket above. What do you guys think? 

18 comments:

  1. I never stuff and zip a collar hood, so that last J Crew jacket would be fine by me. ;)

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  2. Love this post! Damn you are out there doing the Lord's work for us! I love the Gap and LLBean coats on you. I would say if the J.Crew coat came in different colors to keep it, but since it's such a similar look and color to your Gap + Helly Hansen jacket, I would return.

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    1. I am leaning that way - it's just too similar to what I already own. If only they made it in black or burgundy...

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  3. I have really wanted that JCrew jacket for a while! I have a crap H&M army jacket, but this one looks so much better.

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    1. It's so good - well-made and all the details are really nice.

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  4. I love a hood and therefore love the J. Crew version (on you and in theory). I bought a very similar Loft hooded jacket last year and am looking forward to wearing it! It was pretty much a parka, though. They have an unlined green utility jacket now, but only in a few sizes.

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  5. Excellent research! Thank you! How heavy is the J Crew coat? (I might need it).

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    1. It’s called “lightweight” but is fully lined, so I’d say medium weight (but not a winter coat.)

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  6. I feel I need to proclaim I have found the holy grail of fall/spring outerwear. It's spendy but worth every penny - the Blanc Noir Camo Anorak!! It feels and wears just as good as it looks. I normally don't throw down this kind of $$ on a jacket but this one is WORTH IT!! (sleeves run a bit tight, I'm normally a M but had to size up to L). I feel so badass wearing it and the quality feels amazing - I'm pretty sure it will last for YEARS. Can be found at Nordstrom, Zappos, Evereve

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  7. Aaaaand now I have a new utility jacket on the way. None of the ones above, but I still blame / credit you for it :)

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  8. what a service to humanity! the Gap looks great & the JCrew looks great - but at least from your photos, i do like the color of the Jcrew a tiny bit more. i think it looks cool w/ the hood unfurled too. you didn't consider trying out James Perse utility jackets? they are ridic expensive, but tons on ebay... as for the Hensen- totally different animals.

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    1. I honestly didn't know James Perse made utility jackets! They look great, but definitely more than I wanted to spend for this experiment.

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  9. The J. Crew jacket is on sale again and I'm eyeing it. Did it fit true to size? Some of the commenters said it ran big. I'm usually a medium in sweaters and jackets. Thank you!

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    1. I’m generally a medium in jackets and that’s what I got. It’s a slightly oversized style but I don’t know that I’d size down.

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    2. Thank you! I used your link and I hope it logs the sale!

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    3. Thanks! I hope you live it.

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